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Fri, 21/07/2023 - 1:22am

Photo Courtesy of Rosemary Nelson

Democrats against exploiting women until we don’t like them.


Let it be clear that The Onion, a self-proclaimed world leading news publication, goes great lengths to impact the political sphere through satire, and that its long standing today holds great value. Amassed with a readership count of 4.3 trillion, The Onion “has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.” said the platform. Likewise, the outlet has a left leaning, featuring the democratic party which constantly promotes equity and respectful treatment of all demographics.

However, yesterday it was shown that respect is a one way street. And rather, two wrongs do truly make a right.

On July 20, a new satirical post was made on Instagram, with a somewhat unconventional style to The Onion’s norm. Pictured is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, known for her constant anti-LGBTQ+ and religious discrimination, proposing the death penalty to fentanyl dealers caught by the south border and most recently being virally laughed at by her democrat counterparts following a call for decorum, a raised hypocritical request to her demeanor in the chamber.

As seen in the post, Rep. Greene, who is married with three children, is pictured half naked. Turned just away from the camera in an american colored fur scarf, braless with a matching underwear and sheer black pantyhose set, the photo was a product of photoshop. Rep. Greene’s face was plastered over a toned and tan lined body for the many viewers of The Onion’s audience to access. “Marjorie Taylor Greene Presents Own Tasteful Boudoir Pictures In Congress To Contrast With Hunter Biden’s Un-American Smut,” said the caption.

Overwhelming reactions soon followed after the posting of the photo online. “This image is giving her way too much credit.” said one user in a top comment, gathering over 200 likes. “She would never look that good naked.” said a second user.

“Greene is barely a human being. They coulda done worse.” said a third user. “They’re allowed to show her nude, because she ain’t got no soul!” said a fourth user.

“God I wish this was real,” said another user.

The Onion intended to spark a point with their photoshopping of Rep. Greene following a stunt where she tastelessly showed Hunter Biden’s nude photos in Congress on July 19. Furthermore, The Onion, along with their agreeing users helped convey the reality that a woman could deserve such treatment by outlets and social media users alike, as long as we do not respect them.

Coming from a democrat and Editor-In-Chief of a local paper, your actions towards Rep. Greene in your recent post opened catastrophic and predatory doors, and brought all media outlets to a new low: Disliking a woman, no matter the degree, does not give you the right to exploit her sexually through means of photoshop. This is because once one finds a way to justify this, there is no turning back. 

I would like for the newsroom and all persons with the same power in media sincerely to ask themselves the questions they have not yet said out loud.

Did you improve the political scope? 

Are the body shaming comments, and people who commend the photo a spawn of an example you have set? If it were Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kamala Harris, or another famous democrat figure, would you feel upset if it was them?

If it were a less controversial republican, should we photoshop them too? Better yet, if it were any woman who spoke out in disagreement with the public, can we expect to see them up next?

How far should we be willing to go in the items of clothing removed, as long as it adheres to Meta’s nudity guidelines? Or not? Do women of certain religions, backgrounds, or a wish to conserve still apply?

Have we gone in a full circle to abuse women who speak up just enough

Currently, there are low legal expectations of repercussions for exploitative photoshop of women, as we do not yet have the means to make policy as fast as our technology is growing paired by an unsettling demand for deepfaked sexual content. Then, to The Onion, I applaud you. Deepfaking women is a growing interest, and you have only opened a new door right into that room for those who look up to you.

I dearly hope the newsroom will not feel forced to agree with this point, as disagreement was adamantly made clear with their actions, nor brush it off. Instead, they must understand the effects that will follow them as they have permanently entered this realm. In a relatively short amount of time, you will witness a constant horror I am already seeing, where high profile women are to be subjected to their own photoshopped predatory photos right in their feed: As long as we don’t like her.

All thanks to you and the others.


A woman now and forever afraid of speaking up.


Wed, 05/07/2023 - 6:33pm

Fourth Estate/Erica Munisar

SCOTUS rolls back on Affirmative Action. What’s next?


It doesn’t matter if you’ve been reading the news or not, the latest U.S. Supreme Court decision is an important one to understand. On June 29, the Supreme Court recently ruled that racial background should not be considered during college admissions.

Thus, I am going to address what that implies for the student population in America. In a simple statement, we were progressing towards racial equality by implementing affirmative action. But, inconsistencies between racially discriminative reality and hope for equal access for all still persist. Hence, there is a need to bring everyone at par by focusing on the new reality of  “equality of opportunity” over “equality of outcome.”

Personally witnessing the social and political landscape in India and America, historical experiences of oppression of minority groups are widespread. In the U.S., this is evident in the higher poverty rate and lower education levels in the African American/Black population in contrast to the white and Asian population as claimed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2021. 

In both countries, millions of people from disadvantaged communities have been denied basic resources of life. At the same time, people have also risen to the top based on determination and constitutional rights expanded from past judgements.

Around the same lines, Students for Fair Admissions claimed during the case that University of North Carolina and Harvard violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They argued that white and Asian students were discriminated against to give admissions to minority groups. 

Referring to Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003 which legalized consideration of race as a factor in college admissions, Justice Day O’Connor concluded that within 25 years, racial consideration in college admissions may no longer be necessary. But have we, in 2023, reached that level of reality where we all have access to the same resources and opportunities at all levels in life?  

Following the recent Supreme Court decision, what’s the next big thing for the U.S. post-affirmative action? 

As history repeats itself, we can learn from what University of California, Berkeley did following a state ban on racial consideration in college admissions in 1996. After observing a drop in Black and Hispanic admissions, the admissions team had to do a 180 degree turn on the review process. An applicant’s background study would start with their upbringing, their life experiences, resources that were accessible to them and then their test scores or GPA.

Efforts to bridge the gap in racial disparities may still come to a point where the majority might become the minority as colleges become more diverse. The solution to balancing equality and diversity lies in addressing a fundamental aspect which is availability and accessibility for the minority groups. 

We should expect to witness more holistic, merit-based admissions for all people of color. There will be a rise in university efforts nationwide to increase student diversity through race-neutral ways. More funding and oversight will continue to be offered so that the socio-economically disadvantaged communities become capable of competing at par with the majority population. 

No matter the reality, we will find a way to ensure diversity as well as equality. My urge for you is to give regard to each person, from all racial and social backgrounds. As said by UC Berkeley regarding their past experiences, “Although it takes work and commitment, academic excellence and diversity is possible.” 


Tue, 04/07/2023 - 9:49am

Fourth Estate/John Dressel

Students at Mason share their unique experiences and challenges as military and veteran children, “brats”


“Where are you from?”

For most, this is a simple question. But for military children, the query is anything but: It is often met with hesitation or a second thought, and their response turns the simple conversation into a complicated explanation of their adventurous life.

Mason is known as a military friendly institution, with about 4,000 military-related students who range from being active duty, veterans, spouses or dependents. The university has programs and services for military affiliated students available through the Military, Veterans and Families Initiative which focuses on giving back to those who give all to their nation.

With their unique and worldly experiences, these students bring perspectives and knowledge into the classroom and contribute greatly to the learning and social environment at Mason.

“We want our students to know we recognize their sacrifices and are thankful for their perspective and contributions to our Mason community,” said Director of Military Services Jennifer Connors.

While active duty and veteran student viewpoints are more widely shared, military and veteran children have unique challenges and experiences due to the service of their parents.

Children in families of service members are often referred to as military brats. According to the Department of Defense, the term “brat” is attributed to the British Army and originally stood for British Regiment Attached Traveler, the term was used to describe families who were able to travel abroad with a soldier. Eventually, this term became a title military brats are proud to hold today.

“As a military brat, I don’t want to be called a military child because I’m not a child, I am a brat,” said junior Genevieve Ducharme. “We worked, this is our title, this is what we get and it means something to us.”

When Ducharme was growing up, her family was stationed in states like Virginia, Massachusetts, California, Washington as well as overseas in Australia and the Netherlands. Her dad, a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, is now getting ready to retire. She describes her life as a military brat as having certain commitments and expectations she must follow through with consistently.

“As an officer’s daughter, you have certain expectations on how you’re going to carry yourself, who you’re going to be, and you need to present yourself in a certain manner,”  said Ducharme. “You’re taught from a young age to have a lot of discipline, and to be courteous and respectful of others. It is a really big thing.”

Sophomore Joe Kimball is the son of a U.S. Coast Guard officer who retired after serving for over 20 years. Like most, Kimball’s role as a military brat growing up was taxing and difficult.

“One of the biggest things for me is that it was difficult to make friends, and even more difficult to lose them,” said Kimball, speaking of often moving away. “It hurt a lot to lose my friends, especially at a younger age when you have minimal contact. It felt devastating.”

One of the most common challenges that military brats face throughout their lives is having to move a lot. According to the U.S. Department of Defense military brats move every two to three years on average, but this number can vary depending on their parents’ assignment. Constantly having to pick up and move to different places comes with leaving friendships and familiar environments, and the adjustment to a new life can be difficult. 

“If you see someone sitting by themselves or hear something about them being a military kid, just talk to them. Everyone wants to feel that they belong, especially military kids.” said Kimball.

There are also very rewarding aspects to being a military brat. These include opportunities to travel, to see other cultures and to be a part of a tight-knit community.

“You get experiences that people kill to have,” said Ducharme. “When you live somewhere different, you learn how people from different nations interact. Being able to experience cultures is really interesting.”

Senior Elijah Dawson has two parents who are both U.S. Navy veterans. He also comes from an extended family where military service runs in the bloodline. Being able to live through the lifestyle of the military his whole life has influenced him to join the U.S. Air Force after he graduates from Mason.

“The experiences are actually what inspired my later decision in life. I do want to join the military at some point.” said Dawson. 

These Mason students and military brats across the country live a lifestyle that only a small percentage of people experience. They come from a community that is resilient and adaptive. This is the unique life of a military brat.


Tue, 04/07/2023 - 12:33am

Fourth Estate/Erica Munisar

What more is a symbol of our values than the American Flag?


“I told her that with all these American flags, people are gonna think she’s a Republican.” 

Recently, I was walking out of a “Desserts with Democrats” social with a group of people in Charlotte, NC. The landscaping of the house where the social took place was covered with small American flags. 

Right after that comment, a local county commissioner and I both stopped. We went on to have a great conversation about how we need to fly our nation’s flag. 

Why is it like that? Why are we afraid to be proud of our nation? Why will we not show that we love our country? Why are we letting the party that attempted an insurrection and constantly moved to dismantle our political infrastructure hold captive our patriotism?

The United States of America is a great nation, with a flag symbolizing all the ideals the Democratic Party holds dear. A flag that symbolizes the right to be yourself, to say what you believe, and the freedom to make your own choices.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” These words are engraved on a statue of a tall green woman that serves as the most prominent symbol of this country, and they might as well be the mission statement of the Democratic Party.

If you look at the First Amendment, which our forefathers found most crucial to the survival and the success of our free state, the right to speech, to religion, to assemble and petition and to be informed by a free press. 

The Democratic Party has continuously fought for all of these rights. In Tennessee, the Republican legislature banned drag in most public areas, and the Democratic Party fought back. In North Carolina, Republicans have pushed for restrictions on what constitutes the right to peacefully assemble, and Democrats have fought back.

Republicans constantly try to insert religion into public schools, and the Democratic Party continues to fight back. Republicans have attacked pillars of free press, such as the New York Times and NBC News, which have held our public officials accountable since their creation. Democrats have rarely leveled such attacks.

So now I ask my fellow Democrats, why are we letting our flag be the calling sign of one political party? I’ve talked with many Democrats I know, trying to understand why they will not fly their American flag. Some say they don’t know what the flag means anymore. So, let’s remind them. 

It was the flag flown at Fort McHenry throughout the night to tell every American in Baltimore that our nation still stood as the British shells rained down upon them. It was the flag flown across Europe, letting all our brothers and sisters know they no longer had to fear the wrath of a ruthless fascist. It was the flag flown on nearly every doorstep across this nation following the Sept. 11 attacks. Moreover, it’s the flag flown at every fire station, where men and women wait for a call to run into a burning building to save countless lives. 

Some say they don’t want people to mistake them for a Republican. The only way to change that is if we all start flying it. Those who say that they don’t have a passion for this nation, then they do not belong in this party. 

This party is about creating a more perfect union. A Union that lives up to the ideals that it was founded on and the image we all had of it as kids. I, we are asking Americans to trust us to lead this nation; we better love it.

So I ask you, my fellow Democrat, to fly your American flag with me.


Sat, 01/07/2023 - 10:03am
Community members and school clubs, share your thoughts and gain a platform.


The Fourth Estate is constantly seeking voices of innovation, diverse thought and government affairs given our location at one of the most diverse institutions close to the heart of Washington, D.C.

Organizations and community members are eligible to submit contributor pieces to The Fourth Estate to feature their work. Contributor pieces are expected to be around 500-600 words similar to opinion pieces, and should revolve around one main hot take or argument for a topic. 

Organizations such as RSO’s or DSO’s that focus in activism would be best fit to submit a piece to The Fourth Estate. However, any party that believes they have a relevant take on a timely news event may submit a piece for review. Examples of recent events may be based on a reaction to new legislation, controversy, local incidents, or the need to bring awareness to a new perspective.

After posting, organizations may witness several benefits. The article will be credited to the representative writer as well as the organization in the byline. Additionally, organizations who choose the route of a contributor piece may ensure that their words are most accurately represented to their liking. Organizations based in activism may also extend their thoughts to an official publication to feature the values which they support and educate readers.

Students can see one example of a joint RSO contributor piece from “College Republicans vs GMU Democrats.” Regarding tips, we recommend that contributors consider hyperlinking sources and factual information throughout the piece to make their publication stronger. We also require that all claims are truthful and found in fact. After a piece is submitted, the organization may speak further with the team to go through routine article review. We do not accept guest articles based solely on advertising a party.

Not a staff writer? While we are mainly composed of the student body, this does not mean community members do not have important stories to share with us. Some of our past contributor pieces have featured personal stories such as “Join The Fight Against Brain Cancer”, “Loneliness Will Be the Biggest Problem Students Face This Fall” and “Commencements Are Not Discourse.”

Parties who are interested in publishing a contributor piece can submit their article directly to or reach out to discuss possible article paths and questions with the staff. They can also view how to contact the newsroom and submit an opinion piece.

As The Fourth Estate, we welcome all voices and seek to give a platform to our student body and community. Let’s get to writing!


Fri, 23/06/2023 - 5:33pm

Photo Courtesy of Alexis McCaffrey

Stay strong and love one another, featuring a special message from celebrity drag queen Thorgy Thor.


To all my LGBTQ+ folks, you are loved and you are heard. The month of June, AKA Pride Month has been a struggle for the community as explained by a recent White House statement. From laws created making drag performances illegal in various states, to accusations of association with MAPs or so called “Minors Attracted Persons” and of course the big company incidents from Target and Bud Light who faced pushback following their release of pride themed products.

My first experience with this new backlash was my annual Pride trip to Target who releases a line of pride merch every June. I was so excited to grab up some new pride outfits and even cute decorations for my house. However, this excitement was cut short.

According to Target’s statement on its 2023 Pride Collection, it spoke about the threats it received this year following their release. “Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work. Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.” 

First, I always always shop at Target because they are one of the first big company brands to genuinely support LGBTQ+ people and give back to the community as they have offered pride merchandise for over the past 10 years. Sadly, this year some pride merchandise was sent back due to the horrendous backlash that occurred.

The first day I walked into Target I noticed the pride merch was displayed right in the front of the store for everyone to see. It was a very bold choice for a Target in Texas, but I was pleased and felt accepted with their choice. The following day when I came back, I noticed it was gone and I had to ask multiple employees where it had moved to. They either gave me blank stares or whispered quietly that the Pride Collection was near the back of the store. 

The energy had completely shifted and I had no understanding as to why. Later, I hopped on my phone and saw this was a national phenomenon taking place in Targets across the nation as the backlash from displaying pride merch and tucked swimsuits brought chaos. 

I was thankful Target still had pride merch, but the situation left me feeling slightly unaccepted as a LGBTQ+ individual, similar to what others in the community may be feeling. The best way I can explain it is with this simile: It is like entering someone’s home for the first time through the backdoor and not the front. It makes a difference and sends a loud message to that person.

The contagious feeling of a lack of acceptance in the United States has been flowing all throughout the LGBTQ+ community. It has left many of us struggling to feel excitement or feel ourselves during the one month that is dedicated to us, but, I am here to turn these feelings around and provide you with encouragement while also acknowledging these tough emotions that arise.

Pride has always been something I have looked forward to. It is a time of expression, creativity, and pure excitement. Its time to be seen and heard and to really just be yourself as a month of acceptance.

We are a strong community that will continue to overcome anything that comes our way. As shown by a cameo delivered to Mason students by RuPaul Show star and drag queen Thorgy Thor, we are a family and will always be there to support each other.

Students can additionally reach out to the LGBTQ+ Resources Center for support, who has supported students through events such as their Trans Clothing Closet and Gender Marker and Name Change Clinic among more.

Remember that we are loved and we are not alone in this fight. Continue to let your rainbow shine and don’t let this time deem your sparkle. 


Tue, 13/06/2023 - 8:36pm

Photo Courtesy of Evanna Koury/Featured bulletproof shield carried to work by former intern for Rep. Connolly.

Increasing violence against public officials change scope for aspiring government students.


On May 15, an individual entered the District Office of Rep. Gerry Connolly, who represents Mason in the 11th District, specifically requesting to see the congressman. However, when he found that the congressman was absent, he proceeded to attack his staffers with a baseball bat leaving windows broken and two women staff members with non-life threatening injuries. One of the injured staff members was an intern for Rep. Connolly. Mason students located near D.C. aspiring to work in government have been left with fears following increased violence to public officials.

The suspect responsible for the attack was later identified as Xuan Kha Tran Pham who was charged with malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding. According to AP News, Pham’s family claimed the suspect suffered from mental health issues. It should be noted that Pham additionally had a previous charge of assault on a law enforcement officer which was later dropped due to a mental health crisis.

Violence against government officials have ticked up in the past years according to AP News in which nearly 10,000 threats to public officials were investigated by U.S. Capitol Police during the year of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Notable recent examples include the Jan. 6 insurrection caused by former supporters of Donald Trump, resulting in injuries and fatalities among federal police, as well as a republican member home invasion at former democrat speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s residence leaving her husband with severe head injuries.

Rep. Connolly said in an interview that he was not sure if the attack was politically motivated. “I have no reason to believe that his motivation was politically motivated, but it is possible that the sort of toxic political environment we all live in, you know, set him off,” said Rep. Connolly.

Rep. Connolly, who said he represented Mason for 20 years and implemented its voter precinct territory at Congress Day, released the following statement regarding the attack.

“This morning, an individual entered my District Office armed with a baseball bat and asked for me before committing an act of violence against two members of my staff…Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need. We are incredibly thankful to the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical professionals for their quick response.”

“My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day. The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.” said Rep. Connolly.

The Schar School of Policy and Government at Mason, situated in Fairfax and Arlington, is home to around 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students which provides students opportunities to work in the heart of D.C. 

According to their page, “George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government prepares undergraduate and graduate students to be leaders and managers who solve problems and advance the public good in all sectors and levels of government.” said Schar. “Located where policy happens—just 3 miles from the Pentagon, 4 miles from The White House, and 6 miles from the U.S. Capitol Building—students are connected to jobs, internships, networking, and experiences that can only be found in the Washington, D.C., area.”

Mason students who work in D.C. are impacted by violence being brought into their local offices.

“As someone aspiring to work long-term in public service, I won’t lie: This is terrifying.” said sophomore Evanna Koury, who was a Legislative Intern with Rep. Connolly’s Capitol Hill Office in Washington, D.C. and Government major at Mason.

Koury shared risks of working in government such as having to carry a bulletproof shield in her backpack to work among warning messages from her parents. “When I worked on The Hill, my family would text reminders to be safe because of the reports of violence against Hill staff during my time as an intern. I carried a bulletproof shield in my backpack to work every day. I didn’t wear my badge outside of the Capitol complex as a security measure to identify myself to strangers as an employee of the House of Representatives.” said Koury.

“We need to protect our public service workers, especially because they work tirelessly to protect us.”

Dean of Schar School of Policy and Government Mark Rozell notes that attacks against government officials are on the rise. “There has been an astonishing rise in physical attacks on public officials and their employees in recent years. One study documents about a 400% increase in the past six years. As shocking as this attack is, it is one of far too many in this country, due in many cases to hyper-polarization of political views, overheated rhetoric by some leaders and in social media and some cable news programs.”

Despite fears of safety, Rozell encourages students thinking of government work to pursue their careers. “Don’t be deterred, be even more determined to follow your passion. Serving in government is an honorable calling. This country needs the talents of all of our students who aspire to serve and to effect positive change.” said Rozell.

Mason will continue to serve as a university close to D.C. for students aspiring to work in government, regardless of increasing dangers in the field.


Tue, 13/06/2023 - 8:06pm

Photo Courtesy of Women In Business at Mason

New student organization calls for connecting and empowering women in the world of business.


Freshman Lenna Kevorkian, the current president of Women in Business at Mason (WIB), founded WIB with the mission of connecting and empowering women who are studying or are interested in the business field. The new student organization was created in Spring 2023 and plans to become an official RSO in Fall 2023. 

When Kevorkian attended WelcomeFest in the Fall of 2022, she noticed an absence of a Women in Business organization for undergraduate students and decided to start her own. ”Thus, WIB was born in the Spring of 2023. We are currently still building our member base and hope to officially launch member events in the upcoming Fall 2023 semester,” said Kevorkian.

Kevorkian dedicates her RSO to the current status of women in the field. “WIB was inspired by the wonderful women professors in the School of Business, as well as the current underrepresentation of women in the business field. We hope that our members learn something towards their professional skills, but also that there will always be a group of women supporting them in their pursued field…By instilling this set of beliefs in our members, we hope they improve their career successes during and after their time with us and their time at Mason,” said Kevorkian. 

Kevorkian seeks to empower women in the field of business through WIB events. “We hope to build their personal and professional skills through upcoming events and workshops we are planning for members and the greater Mason community,” said Kevorkian. 

WIB recently hosted its first official event for its members and anyone interested. “Most recently, we held our Cookie Conference event in late March; our first ever event for prospective WIB members to meet the officers and each other, and to learn more about the club. This event was very successful, and we are so grateful to all who attended,” said Kevorkian. 

WIB most recently was present at YardFest on April 23 for students interested in meeting members and learning more about the organization. 

Students who are interested in joining WIB can get connected through their Instagram, Mason 360 or email at  


Tue, 13/06/2023 - 7:24pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Artificial intelligence policy decided by professors’ syllabi at Mason.


In Fall 2022, OpenAI launched ChatGPT which became increasingly popular among college students. However, the widespread use of AI-generated writing raises concerns about the academic integrity of students using such technology to complete assignments.

The George Mason University Honor Code does not explicitly address the use of Artificial Intelligence, but it does define cheating as “failing to adhere to requirements (verbal and written) established by the professor of the course.” However, the Department Of Computer Science Honor Code, which must be more specific, bans the use of AI generated code with exceptions to explicit permission.

Currently at Mason, the use of AI in the classroom is mostly up to professors who may opt to label it as a violation of the honor code in their syllabus.

In his COMM305 syllabus, Senior Instructor Lance E. Schmeidler uses suggested syllabus policy language from the Stearns Center which may prohibit the use of AI. The Center gives recommendations to combat AI dependence such as clear communication of standards with students, adaptation of assignments as well as new grading criteria and emphasis on citations.

Schmeidler emphasizes that the use of ChatGPT should not be met with concern, and may even be encouraged in some courses. “The technology [AI] is still in its nascent stages and while intriguing, it is not yet a significant threat to the integrity of the learning experience. That said, unlike other forms of plagiarism that are less detectable, faculty have the advantage of being early-adopters and guiding students toward effective use of AI tools in their courses. We consider many negative consequences of adoption in the classroom, but over time education will evolve to include the technologies and elevate teaching and learning.” said Schmeidler.

“Some past examples of controversial adoptions include the calculator, PowerPoint, LMS’s, use of smart devices and apps, etc. None of these technologies were available for use in my college classes, though my own school age children have been using them in their classes since before COVID.”

Schmeidler shared how professors detect AI generated work. “There are several ways AI usage can be detected. First, faculty develop a sense of student voice for the assignments in their courses. When a passage or paper is submitted that is out of character for the expected voice it would naturally raise concern that the author might not have been the student. Next, for a paper assignment submitted through Blackboard, instructors have the option to submit the document for a SafeAssign review. This would bring to light the copying of any previously submitted work, whether drafted by an AI or other author.”

“Finally, generative AI tools, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT also have programs that can detect if written material was the output of the AI system.” said Schmeidler. “Generally, the accuracy of these output detectors is very high (99% or higher), and might be more accurate at detecting AI generated script than programs like Safe Assign are at determining plagiarized work.”

George Mason currently uses SafeAssign through Blackboard, which does not cite abilities to detect AI.

Virginia universities have responded positively to the use of ChatGPT in the classroom, considering it a valuable tool to assist students while taking steps to prevent academic dishonesty through in-person assignments, proctoring, and other measures.

Universities such as James Madison University currently use AI detection software for submitted work such as Respondus Monitor for proctored exams. Institutions such as Old Dominion University released a FAQ page encouraging responsible AI usage and shared ten AI detector resources to combat academic dishonesty.

In a large panel at Virginia Commonwealth University, they welcomed the use of AI after citing that AI detection software is not accurate enough for reliable use. “The panelists were unanimous that faculty should not ban the use of the technology in the classroom out of fear of students cheating. Students have access to the technology, and the technology to detect AI-generated content is not very sophisticated. They need to have an open discussion about the technology and where it fits into the classroom.”

Questions are raised about the accuracy of AI detection software. According to USA Today, one student from University of California was accused of cheating by GPTzero and later found innocent in April. According to the Washington Post, TurnitIn, which claims 98% accuracy, misidentified half of 16 submitted samples as AI-generated or original work in an experiment.

Schmeidler says students should not worry about false cheating accusations, and that some professors may be open to its use. “I have a saying when it comes to plagiarism and giving credit sources: When in doubt, cite it out. Just cite your original source and you won’t need to worry about academic integrity and honor code violations.” said Schmeidler.

“Even better, check with professors first, before submitting work, to ask if it’s all right to use unattributed work or generative AI tools like ChatGPT. Students might be surprised how often the answer is yes, as this can be a fun discovery project with the professor. But assuming the answer is no, not asking, and then submitting work that is not your own is never a good idea!”

At the end of the day, ChatGPT itself was asked if it will one day take over academia and reflected the different policies of universities.

 “As an AI language model, ChatGPT has the potential to assist students in their academic pursuits by providing them with writing suggestions, grammar corrections, and other language-related support.” said ChatGPT. “However, the idea that ChatGPT or any other AI tool will take over academia is not accurate. AI can never replace the critical thinking skills, creativity, and knowledge that are the hallmarks of a quality education. Moreover, many academic institutions have strict policies in place to prevent academic dishonesty, including the use of AI-generated content without proper attribution.”

“It is true that the use of AI in academia is increasing, but its role is mainly supportive rather than dominant. Instructors and professors will continue to be the primary sources of instruction, evaluation, and guidance for students, and the ethical use of AI tools will be subject to the rules and regulations of individual academic institutions.”

The Office of Academic Integrity did not respond to request for comment.


Tue, 13/06/2023 - 6:43pm

Photo Courtesy of Wasia Amir

Victoria Ghanma leads Mason’s EMS Club to promote life-saving interventions.


The Emergency Medical Services Club at Mason caters to the needs of first responders and medical personnel while educating the public on what to do during medical emergencies. 

With 85 members and counting, the RSO provides a platform for students interested in emergency medical services to acquire practical skills and knowledge. The club’s president, sophomore Victoria Ghanma, described the club’s mission, events and future.

The EMS Club’s primary goal is to provide a platform for first responders and medical personnel to connect, collaborate and network. The club also educates the public on handling medical emergencies, as several students approached Ghanma with inquiries on how to pursue a career as an EMT or first responder, “There were numerous first responders at GMU, yet there was no existing organization that catered to their needs or provided a platform for them to connect and collaborate.” said Ghanma. 

The club hosts various events to promote its mission, provide members with practical skills and knowledge and spread awareness about life-saving interventions among the student community. In addition to the club hosting patient scenarios, the club has arranged for an ambulance to be present on campus. This hands-on experience allows students to learn about Emergency Medical Services and the various roles within the field. “Some of the club’s members have created presentations on crucial topics such as drug administration, controlling bleeding and taking vitals.” said Ghanma.

One notable event was a member-led initiative that featured presentations from Paramedic Nicole Brandt, EMT Shaden Sayed and EMT Reshad Nawal. “These dedicated members put in a tremendous effort to create informative and engaging presentations on various topics related to emergency medical services,” said Ghanma. 

The presentations prompted discussions among the attendees on various topics related to emergency medical services, such as administering specific drugs and patient assessment. The EMS Club has also collaborated with the Early Identification Program at Mason to present to first-generation students, sharing its expertise with a broader audience. 

Ghanma expanded on how EMS has impacted her experience at GMU. “I have been able to meet many different EMS providers from both across Virginia and across the country, making new friends along the way.” 

Vice President and sophomore Gurtej Matharoo expressed his appreciation for the community of EMS providers and friends he has made through the club. “The best part of EMS Club is forming a supportive and educational community for both EMS providers and the general public,” said Matharoo.

Freshman Shanjhitha Kannan, Certified Nursing Assistant intern and EMS secretary, found the club to be a resource for understanding what happens to patients after they leave her care. Kannan elaborated on how the club has provided a supportive and educational environment for all members. “The team members of this club are always encouraging for the upcoming EMS students,” said Kannan. 

Member junior Shaden Sayed, a volunteer at Ashburn Fire and ResCue, values the opportunities to practice and revise BLS skills through various scenarios. “It allows me to meet up with different EMTs from different stations and create that teamwork needed for the people we serve.” said Sayed. 

Victoria Ghanma and the members of the EMS Club at GMU provided a platform for networking, education and hands-on experience. The club has helped members achieve their career goals and encourage community involvement. 

Students who are interested in the EMS Club at GMU can follow their Instagram to stay connected with more updates, or sign up to join through the link on Mason360


Tue, 13/06/2023 - 5:51pm

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Long

Departmental Student Organization allows gamers and gaming fans to take their skills to the next level.


GMU Esports is a departmental student organization established in 2020 under Mason’s Student Involvement program in order to cultivate a community of talented gamers to compete in local esporting events at the collegiate level. 

Originally a smaller RSO club in 2017, GMU Esports joined Mason’s Student Involvement office in 2020, expanding the organization significantly. Housed within the Student Involvement Office in the Hub on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, the space includes multiple gaming computers and provides space for teams to practice and compete. 

According to a released statement by Student Involvement, the organization has also gained increased financial and administrative support to further the development of the Esports members. 

According to Fairfax County Times, “the Patriots have put together several elite squads across multiple games.” In 2022, GMU Esport had 130 competitors at the varsity level and created an all-woman team.

Senior Hussain Zainal, GMU Esports Department President, says that the organization has grown exponentially in the past 5 years, with the organization consisting of 50 active players, 120 players playing across 10 different games, and roughly 500 community members. 

Even for Mason commuters, GMU Esports is a club that is accessible to those who may not have the same opportunities as on-campus students when it comes to extracurricular engagement. 

In addition to the opportunities within the organization, Mason’s Esports team hosts an annual event that is open to the entire Mason community, GAMEMason. 

GAMEMason is held in the spring semester every year in collaboration with George Mason University’s Student Involvement, the Center for the Arts, Mason’s Computer Game Design program and GMU Esports. This event includes gaming tournaments, free-to-play arcade games, vendors, and more. 

The GAMEMason 2023 event included live music performances from the Rock band Bit Brigade and VJ/DJ All Hell Breaks Loose and notable guest speakers from the Gaming industry, including Greg Street from RIOT Games and Carolina Ravassa, the voice of Sombra from Overwatch and Raze from Valorant. 

“This year we had all of our varsity games host a tournament all on the same day,” said Zanial. “We had approximately 10 different schools all come out, resulting in up to 150 live spectators in our venue.”

Through Mason’s Esports teams, there are many opportunities to grow in one’s gaming skills as well as develop a strong sense of community with other Mason members. 

“With Esports, we were able to assist people in finding other peers with whom they share a common interest and a reason to hang out,” said Zanial. 

“Since joining GMU Esports I’ve been able to connect with like minded individuals and continue to push my talents to become one of the top players in my role,” says Junior Patrick Meinen, Mason Esports Overwatch Manager. “I’ve also had the opportunity to really build leadership skills and develop unique friendships and a romantic relationship that I wouldn’t have made without the program.”

Mason’s Esports team provides a competitive environment that allows gamers to take their gaming to the next level while fostering friendships around similar interests. 

“I have directly heard from our players that they were glad that they were given the opportunity to compete at a national level for the games they love and also make friends along the way,” said Zanial. 

“That is all we are trying to achieve.”

Students who are interested in joining or supporting GMU Esports can see their Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, Instagram or their Mason360 Sign Up.